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Trauma and Abuse

Experiencing any kind of trauma or abuse is hard to digest. Unfortunately, we have not been given the best tools to cope with such difficult experiences. When we try to deal with our uncomfortable feelings we tend to use the only tools we know, such as the tools that fuel our body and mind but not the ones that fuel our emotions. The mind, body and emotions are fueled by different components. When each aspect has been given the wrong fuel, then we start experiencing physical dis-ease, mental dis-ease and emotional dis-ease.


Fuel of the body, mind and emotions:

The body is fueled by and functions properly withfood, exercise and rest

  • We have advanced so much in the development of the body through science and medicine.

The mind is fueled by and functions properly by thinking, along with logic and reason

  • We have also excelled in utilizing the mind through education and research.

The emotions are fueled by and function properly by validation, feeling them and experiencing them

  • However, we have not always been given the best tools to address our emotional development, therefore, we attempt to address our emotions with the fuels used by the body and mind.

Trying to use the body fuel for emotions:

  • We may try to eat away our emotions or exercise vigorously and if it’s too intolerable, we just try to numb ourselves and sleep it away.
  • Unfortunately, these are temporary vices that do not address the root causes of the emotions, so those really uncomfortable feelings come back again.

Trying to use the mental fuel for emotions:

  • We may try to figure out why we feel this way by attempting to think our way through an emotion. We then realize that emotions don’t always work with logic and reason, therefore we hit a mental wall and get frustrated with ourselves or the predicament we are in.
  • This in-turn tends to add to the uncomfortable feelings we are enduring and makes us feel even worse about ourselves.

Tapping into our emotional fuel system:

It is very possible to get past some of the hardest emotions, experiences, memories and feelings that are haunting us. We just need to utilize the right fuel for the emotional part of ourselves.

  • This is done through validation of the feelings, feeling of the emotions, and experiencing the emotion.
  • How do I do this?

    • Well, this is the part where it’s best to get help from a professional.
Trauma and abuse come in many forms and here are some ways to recognize them:

Some Types of trauma:

  • Domestic violence or animal attacks
  • Traumatic loss or witnessing the death of someone
  • Car accident or accidental injuries
  • Bullying or community violence
  • Fires and natural disasters
  • Life-treatening medical emergencies
  • Exposure to repeated violence on media or perceived threat by means of media

Some forms of abuse:

VERBAL ABUSE

  • Behavior that causes harm with words
    • name calling, insults, public humiliation, yelling
  • Early warning signs
    • teasing that includes insults

PSYCHOLOGICAL/EMOTIONAL ABUSE

  • Behavior intended to cause psychological or emotional distress
    • threats, intimidation, put-downs, telling a person's secrets, jealousy, possessiveness, isolating a person from friends, family, destroying gifts, clothing, letters, damaging a car, home, or other prized possessions
  • Early warning signs
    • pouting when you spend time with your friends, threatening to leave you in an unsafe location, trying to control what you do

PHYSICAL ABUSE

  • Behaviors that inflict harm on a person
    • slapping, hitting, shoving, grabbing, hair pulling, biting, throwing objects at a person
  • Early warning signs
    • going into a rage when disappointed or frustrated, push, threatening to injure

SEXUAL ABUSE

  • Sexual advances that make a person feel uncomfortable; sexual behavior that is unwanted
    • insisting that a person who said “no” have sex anyway, forcing another person to have sex
  • Early warning signs
    • using emotional blackmail to talk you into having sex
      (“If you loved me, you would...”)